How to Use Supply Chains to Reduce Small Business Inventory Waste


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Recent years have seen a transformation in supply chains, as companies continue to extend their operations across the globe. With suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers located in multiple regions, a new challenge has emerged to maintain control over the entire supply chain process. 

Companies are now looking for ways to manage their end-to-end operations and uphold the standards of their products and services.

One strategy to accomplish this is through supply chain traceability, which is tracking products as they move between locations, from the source to the final customer. Supply chain traceability helps companies access information about every component and process contributing to their products. 

This article covers the basics of global supply chain traceability, its key benefits, and the best practices that will improve traceability within your own supply chain. 

What is supply chain traceability?

Supply chain traceability is a company’s ability to identify and monitor products as they move from point to point along the supply chain. It creates a detailed map of the product’s entire lifecycle, from suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and customers. 

Unlike supply chain transparency, which offers a broader view of the entire process, supply chain traceability focuses on specific products and product batches. It provides real-time details of a company’s supply chain, including its raw material suppliers, manufacturing and labor practices, and shipment schedules.

By taking inventory of all the materials and movements involved in manufacturing a company’s products, traceability builds a better understanding of the complex interconnections that make up the entire supply chain. 

Why is traceability important in today’s supply chains?

Many of today’s supply chains are spread across multiple locations, which presents a distinct challenge for companies.While globalization opens new opportunities to scale and reach wider markets, the dispersed nature creates multiple touch points that require additional management. 

Aside from the heightened risk of lost or damaged products given the longer logistical journey, more effort is also required to ensure every party along the supply chain upholds the same high-quality standards.

To accomplish this, supply chain visibility and traceability are increasingly essential priorities to verify operational integrity. For instance, knowing a product’s provenance can significantly reduce the life of any future defects and recalls. The ability to trace supplies and shipments in real time also helps streamline operations and quickly respond to any disruptions or issues that arise. 

For some companies, particularly those in the food, beverage, medical, or pharmaceutical sectors, a level of traceability is required to do business. This ensures the efficacy and safety of these highly regulated products before they’re made available to the public. 

However, a growing number of customers nowadays prefer companies that maintain transparent operations, regardless of the industry. This includes being more conscious of human rights practices, environmental impacts, and overall ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives. 

Supply chain traceability is one way to prove your company’s commitment to ethical and sustainable products. By paying attention to every detail in the supply chain, companies gain clear insight into reducing their emissions and overall carbon footprint. The additional effort of supply chain traceability can ultimately result in greater resilience and competitive advantage in the evolving market.

Benefits of improving traceability in your supply chain

In addition to addressing the changes in modern operations and the demands of today’s market, supply chain traceability offers many other benefits.

Safeguards against low-quality products, loss, and theft 

Rather than placing a production order and simply waiting for the shipment to arrive, supply chain traceability sheds light on every step of the supply chain. 

As modern operations grow increasingly complex, traceability can be facilitated using barcodes or electronic codes to monitor each product and product component (more on this in the next section). This tracking helps automatically detect the use of any counterfeit or mislabeled parts, in addition to any anomalies in shipment quantities or timelines. Companies are able to track all critical factors, from initial sourcing to final product assembly, and ensure the quality of their production.

Improves operational efficiency and growth

Tracing a product’s journey through the supply chain shows companies where they can reduce disruptions and improve the accuracy of order lead times. These insights contribute to increasing overall efficiency and reliability along the supply chain and, in turn, decrease the likelihood of overstocks or stockouts and the need for rush orders. When implemented correctly, supply chain traceability leads to lower costs, greater profit margins, and a supply chain strategy capable of growth on a global scale.

Ensures compliance with regulations and laws

While regulatory compliance is naturally more stringent for certain industries, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Traceability Final Rule and Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP), manufacturers are generally required to adhere to basic guidelines.

The ISO 9000 is a globally recognized series of standards that provides direction on how manufacturers can maintain quality management systems and products that consistently meet customer expectations.

By bringing together the necessary information about how a product is sourced, produced, and transported, supply chain traceability enables companies to perform due diligence and comply with any regulatory requirements efficiently. 

Improves customer experience and loyalty 

A primary benefit of supply chain traceability is providing products and services that meet customer expectations. Not only does traceability and transparency help establish more consistency toward fulfilling demand, it also goes a long way in building customer trust.

In cases of product defects or recalls, for example, companies can quickly investigate where along the supply chain the issue occurred and take measures to prevent it from affecting other customer orders. 

Transparency has also become a key consideration among customers. They want to know where the product materials were sourced and whether ethical and sustainable practices were used in its production. For this reason, it’s common today for companies to publish details about sourcing and supply chain operations to be more transparent and engage more customers.

Best practices for improving supply chain traceability

Traceability helps companies navigate the ever-expanding supply chain landscape. However, with so many steps and products to keep tabs on, it’s crucial to have a strategic plan. Here are the best practices to consider when implementing a supply chain traceability system. 

Adopt a company-wide traceability solution 

The first step to successful supply chain traceability is to get the entire company onboarded with the initiative. Determine the desired outcome—improved sustainability, better quality control, or another initiative—and build the appropriate strategy and automated workflows

Train all stakeholders in the value chain and ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in contributing to traceability. Coordinatingwith suppliers and other third parties is essential to share relevant details about any new procedures. 

Implement a centralized supply chain platform 

One of the goals of supply chain traceability is to map every step of the process and bring the data into one platform. Inventory management software makes accessing data easier, contributing to a fuller understanding of potential issues or supply chain optimization opportunities

With a single source of data, stakeholders have complete visibility into the movements of the products they manufacture.

Utilize digital tracking systems to monitor products

Tracking every component and product using manual methods is virtually impossible. Instead, teams use barcodes or RFID tags to identify and track specific products easily. Once a code or unique identifier is assigned, it’s easy to scan and monitor the flow of products along the supply chain ecosystem.

Modern operations have even started employing blockchain technology to record transactions between supply chain partners to verify end-to-end traceability.

Final thoughts

As supply chain management grows in scale and complexity, the number of factors to track can quickly become overwhelming. Supply chain traceability enables companies to trace the path of every product at every point of operations.

Prioritizing supply chain traceability enables companies to streamline operations, deliver excellent finished products and customer service, and increase transparency to build a stronger brand.

This article originally appeared on the QuickBooks Resource Center and was syndicated by

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18 loans for Hispanic-owned businesses

18 loans for Hispanic-owned businesses

There are nearly 5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., making this the fastest-growing segment of U.S. small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Yet, despite these big numbers, Hispanic and Latinx business owners frequently face challenges accessing capital and, as a result, often can’t successfully scale their businesses.

Fortunately, a number of organizations and government agencies in the U.S. are stepping up to address this unmet need, offering loans, grants, and other financing options to Hispanic and other minority entrepreneurs. These minority business loans may have lower interest rates and be easier to qualify for than some traditional loans. Here are 18 financing options that are worth checking out.

(Learn more: Personal Loan Calculator


To qualify as a Hispanic-owned business, more than 50% of the company must be owned by people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or other Hispanic origin. Currently, nearly one in four businesses are Hispanic-owned.


minority business loan is a small business loan designed to provide financing options for underserved communities. While minorities are free to apply for any business loan, minority business loans may offer more competitive rates and have less stringent qualification requirements. 

Groups that are considered minorities in the U.S. include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. Women are also considered minorities for many types of loans, as well.


The following lenders offer different types of small business loans to Hispanic and minority entrepreneurs and were chosen based on our analysis of search volume.

1. Accion

Accion is a nonprofit financial institution that invests in underserved communities and offers low-cost lending opportunities to Hispanic- and minority-owned businesses. The Accion Opportunity Fund provides loan amounts from $5,000 to $100,000, and is quick and easy to apply for online. 

Accion offers two types of small business loans — the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund and the Small Business Progress Loan. SOAR is geared toward those in the south and southeast who experienced economic hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic and have been in business since September 2019 or earlier. The Small Business Progress Loan, on the other hand, is open to all minority-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs, and is partnered with American Express.

Accion also offers online resources, events, and networking opportunities (in Spanish and English) to help minority business owners learn and grow their companies.

(Learn more at: Home Affordability Calculator

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The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), which is part of the U.S. Treasury, gives funds to companies and organizations that help underserved people and communities. Minority business owners can reach out to local banks and nonprofit groups that have received CDFI funds to discuss and apply for low-cost business loans.


The owners of Camino Financial were inspired to start their lending business in order to help people like their mother, who lost her Mexican restaurant business when they were children. To that end, they offer simple and affordable loans to small businesses who find it difficult to borrow through banks. They offer bad credit loans, secured and unsecured loans, microloans, and working capital loans up to $35,000. To qualify, your business must have been in operation for at least nine months and generate annual sales of $30,000 or $2,500 a month.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several financing programs that can help minority-owned businesses get access to the funding they need. Here are two programs you may want to check out to find a Hispanic small business loan:


The SBA microloan program is administered by an intermediary network of nonprofit community-based lenders, rather than traditional banks. Through these lenders, the SBA aims to reach lower-income communities and minority-owned businesses that are often overlooked by traditional lenders. These loans come with low interest rates, six-year terms. and loan amounts up to $50,000.

Community Advantage Loans

The SBA’s Community Advantage loan program provides up to $350,000 in capital and is specifically designed to meet the needs of business owners in underserved communities. To qualify for an SBA community advantage loan, business owners need to have good credit and a strong business plan. However, the business’s balance sheet and amount of collateral will not affect eligibility.


By offering crowdfunded loans with 0% interest, nonprofit Kiva is working to lift barriers to capital often faced by entrepreneurs from underserved communities. To apply, you need to market your Hispanic business to the community of 1.9 million individual lenders. These lenders can then choose to lend your company as much as $15,000 and you’ll have up to three years to repay them.


CDC Small Business Finance is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide access to affordable and responsible capital to underserved entrepreneurs, including minority, veteran, and hispanic business owners. CDC offers loan amounts of $20,000 to $350,000 with five- to 10-year terms. They also offer SBA 504 commercial real estate loans of $250,000 to $40 million.If you are looking for advice to rebuild your credit, develop your business strategy, or manage financial reports, you’ll appreciate having access to small business advisors through CDC.


Grameen America strives to achieve racial and gender equity by providing microloans of up to $2,000 to female and minority business owners. As part of their program, borrowers can open free savings accounts with commercial banks and build personal credit as they pay off their microloans. Grameen also offers training and support to women who want to start businesses and rise out of poverty.


The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) offers Hispanic small business loans of $500 to $250,000 that can be used to purchase equipment, expand a business, hire staff, or purchase inventory. The three types of loans offered by the LEDC are as follows:

  • LEDC Growth Loan: Loan amounts up to $250,000 for established small businesses that have been in operation for a minimum of two years.
  • LEDC Startup Loan: Loan amounts up to $20,000 for new businesses with less than two years of business history.
  • LEDC Seed Loan: Loan amounts up to $5,000 for businesses with less than one year of experience and with plans to launch a company within three months of funding.

LEDC also offers free business advice and credit-building services, as well as a directory of latino-owned small businesses.


The National Association of Latino and Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) provides funding to a network of over 200 nonprofit organizations that serve diverse Latino communities throughout the U.S. With NALCAB support, these partner organizations offer Hispanic loans, grants, professional training, and support. 

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Hispanic small business loans aren’t the only way for your business to get funding. There are also minority business grants that can provide capital that you don’t have to repay. These grants are offered by federal and local government agencies, corporations, and nonprofits.

10. is the largest database of federal grant opportunities. While most grants are not specifically targeted to Hispanic small business owners, awards are available for all types of entrepreneurs, especially those focused on healthcare, U.S. defense, and environmental protection.


digitalundivided’s BREAKTHROUGH Program (powered by JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways) offers $5,000 grants to Black and Hispanic women in the Dallas, Texas area. digitalundivided also provides training and resources to help businesses understand their customers, find financing, and choose the right business model.


The National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) works to provide resources for all self-employed individuals, including Hispanic business owners. They offer Growth Grants of $4,000, which can be used for a variety of business expenses, including marketing, advertising, hiring employees, and expanding facilities.

Besides access to grants, becoming a NASE member allows you to connect with experts who can advise you on subjects like finance, healthcare, strategy, law, and marketing. NASE membership also gives you access to discounts on healthcare, software, tax filing, and business travel.


Hispanic businesses located in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenue may want to consider applying for a Rural Development Grant from the USDA. Grants vary in size and can be used for a variety of projects that aid business development in rural areas, including training, technical assistance, acquisition or development of land, building construction or renovations, equipment purchases, and pollution control.


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are government grants from five different federal government agencies. These competitive grants are focused around tech and science and offer up to $1 million in capital (divided into two phases) to qualified small businesses.


You may be able to find funding for your Hispanic small business through’s Foundation Directory Online, which contains information on over 240,000 grantmakers in the U.S. Access to the directory requires buying a monthly subscription, but you can cancel at any time.


Comcast RISE, which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment, is a grant designed for businesses that were hit hardest by COVID-19. The grant is worth $5,000 and is given to small business owners hoping to expand and recover from the effects of the pandemic. Awards go to those looking to uplift their communities with a focus on diversity, inclusion, and community investment.


The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch Whiskey awards $10,000 in grants to small businesses owned by people of color in the food and beverage industry. Created by Hispanic entrepreneur Carin Luna-Ostaseskis, one of SIA’s goals is to provide funding, mentorship, and community to small businesses.


If you’re a woman entrepreneur, consider applying for the Amber Grant, named after Amber Wigdahl, who passed at the age of 19 and never got to fulfill her business dreams. Each month, at least $30,000 is given in Amber Grant money. Applying takes just a few minutes and winners are announced by the 23rd of the following month.


In addition to the grants and loans, there are organizations that can provide technical assistance, training, workshops, and networking opportunities to Hispanic businesses. Below are some you may want to check out.


With a focus on assisting Black female and Latinx business owners, digitalundivided offers virtual training and a fellowship program for entrepreneurs. It also offers a pre-accelerator program for tech-enabled startup founders who have already begun to build their startup, are pre-revenue, and need assistance in developing their business model, marketing, and strategy.

Minority Business Development Agency

The Minority Business Development Agency is an advocate for Hispanic and other minority-owned businesses, and offers research, conferences, and resources to help entrepreneurs. Its Enterprising Women of Color Initiative is aimed to help minority women succeed in business through various offerings.


The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of Hispanic-owned businesses. Members have access to events and business resources to support them in their growth. In addition, members get listed in the Chamber’s online Hispanic business directory.


SCORE is a national organization that connects business owners to free mentors to help them learn and grow their companies. SCORE also offers free workshops and a robust online database of useful business content.


Looking for — and applying for — a Hispanic business loan can feel like an overwhelming task. Here are some ways to simplify the process.

Consider Your Options

Before applying for a small business loan, it’s a good idea to take a look at your credit profile and business financials, as this will give you an idea of what type of loan you might qualify for. If you have excellent credit, solid revenue, and have been in business at least two years, you may be able to qualify for a long-term, low interest loan from a bank or SBA lender. If not, you may want to look into financing offered by lenders and grantmakers listed above, as well as online lenders (who often have less strict qualification requirements for loans).

Determine How Much Money You Need

To figure out how much of a loan you need to start or grow your Hispanic business, consider how you would like to use the funds from a loan, then create a detailed budget for your project, adding in some padding to account for unexpected expenses. 

Consider the Best Location for Your Business

If you haven’t yet launched your business, consider what might be the best environment for doing so. You may want to explore the best metros for minority businesses, since they may have established communities of hispanic business owners and resources to help you.

Gather All Your Paperwork

Whatever type of funding you decide to pursue, you will likely need to supply an extensive amount of information about your business in order to apply. This often includes:

  • Business EIN
  • Industry
  • Entity type
  • Business license and permits
  • Annual business revenue and profit
  • Bank account statements (personal and business)
  • Personal and business tax returns
  • Balance sheet
  • Proof of collateral
  • Accounts receivable and payable reports
  • Existing debt
  • Commercial lease
  • Purpose of the loan/grant
  • Business plan

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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